News | Bertelsmann Education Group | Mountain View, 01/10/2020

Udacity Celebrates 100,000 Graduates

In its review of the year 2019, the online education provider Udacity presents some impressive figures. For example, it celebrated its one hundred thousandth Nanodegree program graduate in December. Over the course of the year, 14 new degree programs were launched and 50 new enterprise clients were acquired, 20 of them heavyweights from the Fortune 500 list.

More and more people around the world are relying on the IT competency of the online education provider Udacity. In December 2019, the company, whose key strategic investors have included Bertelsmann through the Bertelsmann Education Group since 2014, celebrated its one hundred thousandth Nanodegree program graduate. A year earlier, the figure was 50,000, reports Udacity in its latest annual results. And the number is likely to continue to grow – not least thanks to Bertelsmann: Last year, the Group and Udacity launched a three-year program to award 50,000 scholarships in the cutting-edge fields of cloud, data, and artificial intelligence. In addition, the Pledge to America’s Workers initiative provides 100,000 scholarships for low-income students from the U.S.

But the figures also paint a good picture in other areas, as CEO Gabe Dalporto writes in his blog post on the Udacity homepage. “2019 was a year of growth,” he concludes, corroborating this not only with the doubling of the number of graduates with 14 newly launched courses, but also with 50 new enterprise clients who want to help their employees gain in-depth knowledge of in-demand skills with the help of Udacity’s Nanodegree programs. These include 20 heavyweights such as Airbus and Accenture from the Fortune 500 list of leading corporations. Overall, Dalporto continues, this great interest has led to a 60-percent increase in the number of new enrolments in Udacity’s Data and Artificial Intelligence courses.

Salary increase after acquiring Nanodegree

But even more important for Udacity is the success of its students, writes Dalporto. In 2019 they spent over 7.7 million hours in virtual classrooms and completed more than 200,000 IT projects, he says. An Udacity survey found that half of them are in full-time employment, and 81 percent have a college degree. The graduates indicated that having acquired a Nanodegree proved beneficial for their careers. The majority (77 percent) of students decided to pursue a Nanodegree program for career growth or a job transition. 71 percent of these reported a salary increase, with 37 percent having scored a significant raise of more than 20 percent. “We are incredibly proud to see how our students have used their new skills to advance their careers and their lives,” says Dalporto. He cites the young Nigerian woman Ire Aderinokun as a prime example. She not only graduated with an Udacity Nanodegree herself in the field of Web Development, but has also funded Udacity Nanodegree programs for other women in her country.

“Stories like Ire’s help us know that we are on the right path to help our students learn the skills they need, land the jobs they want, and build the lives they deserve,” says Dalporto in his blog. He also quotes from a speech given by Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun to students at a graduation ceremony in 2019: “Stay curious, keep an open mind. Most of us are wired to think inside the box, we think if self-driving cars didn’t exist yesterday then how could they possibly exist tomorrow. But the brave ones like yourself don’t think like that.” Dalporto is optimistic for the future: “We could not be more proud of our graduates, all 100,000 of them, and we look forward to more exciting growth in 2020.”